Generating your own electricity – this is a hot topic for many people at the moment. With emergency generators, power outages can be bridged at least temporarily. We took a closer look and tell you for whom the devices are worthwhile and what to look out for when buying.
In Germany, too, the power goes out from time to time. But that’s not the rule, every DSL connection gets out of step more often. Compared to other countries, Germany has a very stable power supply and hardly any outages. But the energy crisis is also fueling discussions here. The current topic is emergency power generators. Should you buy one for possible power outages – and if so, what should you watch out for?
You don’t have to conjure up any horror scenarios, just take a look at the rather sober PDF document from the BBK (Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance) Power failure – precaution and self-help. It says that we have a very good power supply in this country and that the European interconnected grid also ensures stability. Longer power outages are also possible in Germany.
Examples are given from snowy winters, around 1978/79 and 2005, in which there were regional power cuts for days due to the weather. Then not only does the light go out, but all power-operated systems and devices that are not supplied with emergency power fail. When that happens, it gets really uncomfortable.
As the BBK writes, the rare day-long power outages in Germany show that most people have not prepared for crisis situations. This includes, for example, sufficient food and drinking water supplies. You can read about exactly what you need to consider in this checklist.
There’s a lot to be gained by being prepared for an emergency, but there are also a number of ways to power yourself. For example, you can generate electricity yourself with small solar systems for the balcony. Even those who have a photovoltaic system on the roof can use the electricity with suitable storage devices to bridge power failures.
The critical infrastructure is usually supplied with emergency power. Take hospitals as an example: hospitals have emergency generators in the basement so that important medical equipment can continue to run in the event of a power failure. There are separate rooms, emergency plans and regular tests for this. These free-standing devices are also available a few sizes smaller for installation in authorities, companies or even private households.
It’s one thing for authorities that serve as command centers in the event of a disaster, companies from different sectors can also equip themselves with emergency power for failures, but things are different for private households. Permanently installed emergency power systems are simply very expensive. The exact costs depend on the solution you choose, but you will definitely have to invest several thousand euros.
But there are also solutions with maximum comfort: for example, the emergency power will automatically step in if the grid fails and continues to supply the house or apartment. But keeping something like this for day X, which may never come, is not very economical for private users.
Mobile emergency generators are better suited for the private sector. They are not nearly as expensive and also supply a certain number of consumers. They are not only suitable for power failures, but are also used on construction sites, when camping or in allotment gardens.
From around 350 euros you are there, but technically these devices are usually operated with petrol or diesel. That means you can only use them outdoors. There is a risk of suffocation from the exhaust fumes indoors. You can read a comparison of different devices, also with a hand crank or solar panel, in this article.
In addition, you are only allowed to store small amounts of fuel at home. 10 liters of petrol and 20 liters of diesel are permitted in suitable canisters. You should find a well-ventilated and dry place to operate the emergency generators. You can then connect hotplates outdoors or operate fan heaters using extension cables. Most devices up to 500 euros create around 3,000 watts.
The obvious idea is not to carry all the devices outside or to connect them to the emergency power generator using a complicated extension cable, but to feed the emergency power into the home network.
This is basically possible, but you should not do the installation yourself. Call in a specialist electrician and get advice and then also install the desired solution.
Be prepared for power outages. However, this usually involves stocking up on food and drinks for a few days. It would be good if more people would take care of the simple emergency equipment. An emergency power supply is not standard for private users. Professional, permanently installed emergency power systems are aimed at hospitals, authorities and companies.
For private users there are mobile emergency power devices, which are also intended for camping or construction sites. Of course, not everyone needs them either. However, if you have other useful areas of application for the devices in addition to emergencies, you should consider purchasing them.
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